Acura Launches ILX With Gen Y Flavor
The new catchphrase in the luxury auto category is "gateway vehicle." It's all about having a car that can bring Gens X and Y into the luxury market at a level they can handle. BMW has one with the 1-Series; Lexus has the CS 200h; Mercedes will introduce the A-Class; Cadillac will have the ATX vehicle that comes in below the CTS and Infiniti is bringing its own entrant to market.
Acura's offering is the ILX, which starts at $25,900. The Torrance, Calif., luxury sibling of Honda is launching the vehicle with a new campaign from its U.S. agency of record, rp&. The campaign, which is also its biggest digital effort to date, uses music from The Ting Tings and Nick Waterhouse.
Susie Rossick, manager of Acura advertising, tells Marketing Daily that the digital buy will hone in on sites popular with 25-to-34 year olds. "We have upped our percentage of digital spend higher than we have ever done for Acura, because this group spends much more time online than Baby Boomers," she says. "So we're doing things on Pitchfork, Bleacher Report, and Mashable, for example. We are doing homepage takeovers on MSN and Yahoo." The automaker is advertising on Xbox Live, Pandora and Good, and showing creative on YouTube, as well.
The two TV and in-theater ads use a split-screen motif to show upwardly mobile Gen Y people building their careers and social lives simultaneously. On one side, you see them in airports, and corporate offices. On the other, they're at upscale resorts and nightclubs. In each ad, the character ends the journey in the driver’s seat of an ILX. “Life should be equal parts responsibility and fun,” says the voice-over. “Introducing the new Acura ILX. Move up. Without settling down.”
The spots make their TV debut with a national presence during the NBA conference finals on ESPN June 5, as well as the NBA finals on ABC on June 15 and 17. Cable TV includes networks such as G4, Spike TV, AMC and the E! channel. Rossick says they will also be in summer blockbusters.
Rossick says Acura is also partnering with a popular indie band that has a new album coming out this month (mum on the band’s name because the legal ink is still drying). Acura will be sponsoring their tour and will have vehicles on display at concerts. "This is the first time Acura has ever sponsored a tour. But it's a perfect time for us to reintroduce ourselves to a younger audience, and this is really our sweet spot," says Rossick. "It's where we do really well; and we are viewed [by Gens X and Y]as an aspirational brand."
Also on deck is a series of weekend experiential events in five cities. The program, aligned with Autoweek, will visit Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Chicago, and includes a ride-and-drive component. The automaker expects about 200 attendees expected per day at the events. Rossick says both the Autoweek program and the band sponsorship will have large social media components.
Facebook will be a small part of the digital buy, for the ILX campaign. Acura will put such content on its Facebook page as an app in development that will allow people to place themselves in the car using their webcam.